The goal of a well woman exam is to check on the current state of health, to plan for the future, and to prevent illness. As a woman's body ages, it will undergo changes that need to be responded to right away in some cases. A woman may also need guidance on family planning, something which can be an important part of a well woman exam.
The first Well Woman Exam is generally planned in the mid to late teen years. Once a woman reaches age 18 (or 21 at the latest,) an exam should be done on a yearly basis. Pap smear should start at age 21 regardless of sexual activity. Women who suffer from illnesses or who have special health concerns may need to schedule more frequent visits based on the doctor's recommendations.
The OB-GYN will review all aspects of a patient's health during a well-woman exam. This will cover areas like exercise habits, eating habits, smoking habits, alcohol consumption, sexual activity, menstrual cycle patterns, and family planning.
During a well woman exam, the doctor will perform a pelvic exam, which will check for abnormalities in the uterine and ovarian areas. During the pelvic exam, the doctor will typically screen for cervical cancer and HPV. Patients who are at risk for sexually transmitted infections and diseases can be screened for chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV/AIDS, and other infections and diseases at this time if needed. A clinical breast exam is another part of a well woman exam. The clinical breast exam will involve palpation of the breasts to look for lumps, as well as a visual scan to look for changes in breast shape or skin texture. At the time of your well woman exam, mammograms and other appropriate screening exams such as bone density scans can be scheduled for your convenience.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!